A cold day in February 2017
1 year. 7 days. X hours. That’s how long it’s been. Longer really since I’m trying to sneak in and count a little piece written for Durham Magazine. Sometimes you get so caught up in life – the living of it, the recovering, the making sense of it – you don’t have time to stop and organize letters into some semblance of sentences and paragraphs. Seeing that of the last three posts, two of them are about my Mom and Dad is extra bittersweet.
My Dad’s death in December 2014 completely untethered me. (Reveal: flapping in the proverbial wind comes easy for me. I don’t much like to be tethered.) This was an excruciating separation full of murky permanence. Holding his hand for hours, then one tight squeeze. That was all.
In a chair at the foot of the bed, and mindfully unaware through her own curtain of Alzheimers, Mom just nodded and whispered a slow, drawn-out “yeah,” her go-to response to everything, even death. Her own death a year and a half later on their 65th wedding anniversary was unsettling and different. She fought ’til the end. Determined. Unknowing. Unaware. At the last minute, she turned toward me. Glaring into my eyes. Now THAT’s an imprint.
It was a gift being with them in their end days, at their last breath. I tried to soften it for them. Making phone calls to all the kids and grand-kids so they could tell Dad they loved him. Mom’s favorite classical music playing softly. A long-time friend brought in a mountain dulcimer. Another with the voice of a million angels and a 12-string guitar sang Amazing Grace. Somehow fitting since my Mom’s name was Grace.
Kinda shaken and stirred in all that was the news that my ex-husband Bill had died. Sad that in a recent email, he hadn’t told me he was battling cancer. Our separation/divorce took many of our friends by surprise, the close ones not so much. He had an edge and I was never totally comfortable in the marriage. I had always thought/ hoped we’d have time to sit across from one another and make things right. Not reconcile, just stop being angry with the other. I was surprised at how emotional and saddened I was by his death.
And at the end of the muddle, there was Lindsay. As if I’d dreamed him up – and I had. An entire lifetime of dreams. A complete surprise. Bringing the sweetest love I’d ever known. And for the first time in over 20 years, I was a family again.
A friend nudged me yesterday, asking about Simmer2Sizzle’s radio silence. That’s why you have S2S in your mailbox. I promise to do better.